Yesterday Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced that the new southern trailhead on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail is set to open to trail users for the first time beginning this Friday (October 29).

Located at the intersection of Main Street and Sellers Road in Banks, the new trailhead, and the adjoining 1.5 miles of new trail now in place, fully completes the 21-mile, mostly paved rails-to-trails project which began in 1990 and links the two communities of Banks in western Washington County and Vernonia in Southern Columbia County.

But before you rush out the door to hit the new trail, take note: On Friday at 11:00 a.m. there will be a public ceremony at the new Banks trailhead, so visitors are encouraged to make good on the free parking offered at Sunset Park, a half-mile south of the trailhead.

The festivities roll on into the weekend, too. L.L. Stub Stewart State Park, which is located roughly 8-miles to the north of Banks, directly off the Banks-Vernonia State Trail, is offering a free open house on both Saturday and Sunday, which includes free parking and slew of free activities including a group bike ride organized by Northwest Bicycle Safety Council on Saturday, and a geocaching event in the works for Halloween.